Michigan no-fault auto insurance laws allow a person injured in a traffic accident to receive benefits, no matter who was at fault for the accident. This is in contrast to fault-based states, which place liability for injury-related losses on the negligent driver who caused the crash. Until July 2020, Michigan required all drivers to have unlimited no-fault coverage, referred to as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. The unlimited nature of these policies meant that insurers should cover all the medical costs of injuries (among other losses), even if medical care lasted a lifetime.
State lawmakers saw problems arise as insurance companies kept increasing premiums for this unlimited PIP coverage. This resulted in many drivers failing to renew their policies, which means they had no coverage if they suffered injuries in a crash. To control rising premiums, a new law went into effect, providing consumers with options instead of requiring unlimited coverage.
The new no-fault laws will certainly cause complications for people who sustain injuries in auto accidents. What happens if you choose a policy with a limit? Will it cover all of your medical expenses? These questions are understandable, and they are best answered by the car accident attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers. Contact us today so we can help your case on the best path forward.
Options Under Michigan’s New No-Fault Laws
The amended law provides Michigan residents with various options regarding their personal injury protection coverage.
Now, you can choose from one of these options:
- Unlimited PIP coverage
- PIP coverage up to $500,000
- PIP coverage up to $250,000
- PIP coverage up to $250,000 with certain medical exclusions, which is only available if you have qualified health coverage that will step in and cover car accident injuries
- PIP coverage up to $50,000, which is only available if you are enrolled and eligible for Medicaid benefits
- Opting out of PIP coverage completely, which is only possible if you have the right qualified health coverage or Medicare coverage
The premiums are lower for policies with lower limits, so we expect that many people will choose against unlimited coverage moving forward. However, unlimited coverage is always wise to ensure that you have the benefits you need in the event you sustain severe injuries.
What Compensation is Available after a Car Accident?
Each car accident and injury is different, though some losses are common following this type of injury.
Your PIP policy should cover, up to your policy limits:
- Hospital bills
- Doctor’s visits
- Physical therapy/Chiropractic/Massage therapy
- Surgery and aftercare
- Medical equipment
- Medical testing (e.g., MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans)
- Home health care
- Gas money and transportation to and from medical providers
- Mileage costs
PIP policies will also cover up to 85 percent of your wages for work loss related to your injuries until you reach the maximum amount specified by your policy. This helps ensure that you do not feel rushed to go back to work until you are recovered and ready.
You can also claim a certain amount per day for loss of services if you require household assistance to keep your home running while you recover.
These are also called replacement services, and can include:
- Grocery shopping
- Child care
- Taking out the garbage
Other benefits might include personal care for service from a nurse, family member, or another attendant, as well as family benefits in the event of a fatal accident. Then, the family of the deceased victim can receive compensation for financial support and services that the deceased would have performed. These are often termed survivor’s loss benefits. Coverage also provides a funeral and burial expense benefit of at least $1,750, and the right to purchase up to $5,000 in funeral and burial expense coverage.
If the accident was not your fault, you might also receive compensation for your pain and suffering and any emotional damages. If the at-fault party does not have insurance or that party cannot be located, you may file an uninsured motorist claim for your pain and suffering.
Seeking Damages That Exceed Your Policy Limits
One consequence of the change to the law is that now, people who opt for limited PIP policies might suffer serious car accident injuries, and the losses might exceed the policy limit. If it seems as if your medical expenses will be greater than your coverage, it is critical to consult with a Michigan car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
In accidents caused by the negligence of others, an injured person may need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance policy to seek compensation for their excess losses. In addition, if injured victims cannot reach an adequate settlement agreement with the insurance company, they may need to file a lawsuit against the other driver to obtain compensation. These developments make it all the more important for injured victims to retain an experienced lawyer after an accident.
The issue might arise in which someone has excess losses, and the liable driver does not have an adequate bodily injury policy to cover the overages. This can be a complicated situation that many Michigan motorists might face in the coming months and years under the new no-fault laws.
Contact a Michigan Auto Accident Lawyer for Assistance
When the laws change, it will often result in confusion and complicated situations for consumers. The changes to Michigan’s no-fault laws are no different, but rest assured that our legal team at Michigan Injury Lawyers is ready to help clients navigate the aftermath of an injury in light of the new law.
Regardless of who was at fault, if you suffered injuries in an auto collision, it is important to speak to a Michigan auto accident attorney who can determine what compensation you should receive from which sources and fight for your rights under Michigan law. Call the Michigan Injury Lawyers at (888) 454-0801 today or contact us online for a free consultation.